Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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This won’t go down as a recruiting visit for 2014 UNLV basketball target Stanley Johnson, a highly sought after wing from Mater Dei in Southern California.
But Johnson, who ESPN rates and the nation’s No. 22 overall prospect for the class of 2014, received a small history lesson in Rebel basketball Friday night while in Las Vegas.
Following Mater Dei’s victory against Our Savior from New York in the semifinals on the inaugural Jerry Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman, the 6-foot-5 Johnson and his teammates stayed on their bench to watch a near 30 minute tribute on Tarkanian’s legacy.
A seven-minute video presentation was part of the ceremony, showing highlights from UNLV’s four Final Four teams under Tarkanian. The package was full of dunks from Stacey Augmon, 3-pointers from Anderson Hunt and an exciting style of fast break basketball from the Rebels.
It was one gigantic advertisement for UNLV basketball with the five-star recruit Johnson having a front row seat for the festivities.
“UNLV has such a great history,” he told the Sun afterward. “Having coach Tark around is always good. Everyone definitely knows about him and how he helped (mentor) coach Rice.”
Johnson, who has double-digit scholarship offers from the likes of Arizona, UCLA, Kentucky and Washington, spoke very highly on the UNLV program. His interest was obvious.
“It is a great system and I think I can play really good in that system,” he said. “Coach Rice has shown he can do good things with good players.”
Johnson was high school teammates at Mater Dei with UNLV freshman Katin Reinhardt and says Reinhardt is constantly in his ear about playing for UNLV.
“He says (UNLV) is the best,” said Johnson, who finished with 15 points in the Mater Dei victory. “He wants me to go here so bad so we might be able to play together again.”